Meet Paul Reinwand, a comic artist and freelance illustrator currently residing in Portland, Oregon. Paul grew up in Redding, California, and after spending some time in public and private colleges, he started his career through a private mentorship with independent concept artist and painter, Pete Mohrbacher. This mentorship helped him recognize the strengths of his work, which led him to shift his focus from painting to comic art. Today, Paul is best known for his unique characters, great line quality, and narrative illustrations!
Paul has worked on projects with 1001 Knights , BOOM! Studios, IDW Publishing, and has a forthcoming creator owned title from Oni Press. We have had the pleasure of working with Paul on several Light Grey Exhibitions including Boss Rush, the ROBO SHOW and our upcoming Botanica Exhibition, coming April 2016.
You can read about Paul's interests, inspiration, and some of his upcoming projects below - Paul has tons of great resources, artists of inspiration, and thoughts on making!
You can also find Paul Reinwand's portfolio work here.
What does your workspace look like? Do you have any interesting collections or items that you feel represent you or your practice?
There's nothing too out of the ordinary with my work space. I work 100% digitally, so I don't have a separate drafting table for analog work right now, though I have been craving it as of late. I have a bunch of concept art books from video games and my favorite shows. I like to think of myself as a designer first and foremost -- it's where my heart still is most of the time.
A lot of your work seems to draw from different elements of media and pop culture. What are your favorite movies/shows/video games?
I have too many favorites to list, but I've managed to kick a pretty bad Destiny habit recently, which is a game that I admire a great deal from a design standpoint. Bungie has really set the tone for a recent influx of combining hard surfaces and elements of cloth.
One thing I have been actively watching and entranced by lately is the second season of the anime Haikyuu. The sense of motion it has is something I would really like to start putting in my own work, and its pervasive sense of hard work equaling success is always inspirational to me. My biggest influences – looking a bit further back – would probably be Avatar, Young Justice, anything from Mamoru Hosada, and the first three Alien movies. The design language within animation has always been a favorite of mine.
What are some of your favorite robots in fiction? If you could have access to/interact with/pilot one robot from the world of pop culture, which one would it be?
My earliest memories of robots were probably falling in love with Doc Oc's [robotic] arms in Spider-Man. Beyond that, Eva's of Neon Genesis Evangelion or mechs from Zone of the Enders -- anything with a great silhouette. If I had to pick just one, I'd probably choose the Talgeese from Gundam, though Eva Unit 02 would be a close second.
Can you tell me more about your artistic practice- what is your typical process when approaching a piece?
I generally don't do thumbnails for anything but comic pages. When it comes to stand-alone pieces, I will typically start with a color comp. Usually it's just laying down blocks of color with an opaque square brush and trying to make shapes work. From there, I will start noodling over the top with my preferred inking brush at that time, and then i just jump right into the final inks, all while erasing the stuff that doesn't work and redrawing it on the same layer. It's rare that I ever break the ten layer mark on a piece.
I sketch every day, and I usually keep 5-10 photoshop files that are filled with layers upon layers of different sketches where I didn't feel the designs were going anywhere. Then, when I feel like I'm coming up blank I'll open those up and steal ideas from myself. I'm very process driven, so I try to build in redundancies for success wherever I can.
What are your favorite materials? Favorite reference materials?
These days, I do almost everything in photoshop, and while I love playing with other people's brush sets, I usually end up making or heavily tweaking most of my own brushes instead. My number one asked question is about the textures I use, which are just watercolor or high relief concrete pictures set to overlay or soft light, and occasionally I'll use the filter for generating noise.
In terms of reference material, stuff like Jake Parker's Pinterest is a godsend. Also, adding "+tumblr" to any Google image search is a good trick for mixed up search results in your favor. Search-fu is so important to my success.
What were some of your thoughts when creating your piece for the ROBO Show?
What I ultimately ended up with was actually plan-B, for the backdrop anyway. The initial design called for a rusted-out mech covered in foliage, and the heart of the chassis was going to have a glowing fruit or nut of some kind. The back drop was going to be an orchard. I had a whole mythos planned out. . . maybe I'll circle back around to my original idea at some point.
Can you talk about any of your upcoming projects or projects you’re working on currently? Anything you’re really excited about?
I have two books on the slate currently: Murder Ballads, with Gabe Soria, published by Z2, and a second unannounced project which I am beyond anxious to talk about! I'll also be wrapping up issue six of Aloha, Hawaiian Dick with B. Clay Moore (filling in for Jake Wyatt) and have a short story and cover in his recently funded Great Big Hawaiian Dick trade. In addition, I've been working on some other covers here and there, and a pretty in-depth pitch I've been building with Zach Clemente and Kevin Stanton.
Who are some of your favorite illustrators right now?
I've been digging back into Mitchell Hooks, Austin Briggs, and Mike Ludlow lately. I feel like I am pretty late stumbling into comics; all I read as a kid was Alien and Predator stuff, mainly because I'm not very fond of the 80's and 90's superhero aesthetic. Because of that, contemporary comic pros have been a huge influence on my work. My blind purchase comics collection includes anything from Doc Shaner, James Harren, Mitch Gerads and Andrew MacLean, plus the usual living legends among us: Chris Samnee, Stuart Immonen, and, of course, Mike Mignola.
Comic colorists have also been a huge influence! I look at work from the living tri-force of Dave Stewart, Matt Wilson, and Jordie Bellaire. Also, I should definitely mention Jake Wyatt and Kris Anka because they were my direct inspiration for making a go of comics in the first place.
What would be your dream gig? Any specific projects you would like to work on?
Someday, I would like to work on an Alien title. That has always been a dream of mine! Maybe a short in the AvP annual? I've been fortunate enough to have one of my first big pickups be creator owned, so I would like to keep that ball rolling.
Anything else you want to add? Where can people find your work?
I keep a pretty active online sketchbook at konradwerks.tumblr.com, and if you can stand my incessant Naruto tweets, I drop a fair amount of new content on Twitter @paulreinwand too. I'm trying to be better about posting process work on Instagram as well, which is Konradwerks. Last but not least, I have a catchall portfolio at www.konradwerks.com that has page samples and info for contacting me or my agent.